Every day in America, someone receives the news that they have type 2 diabetes. While type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, with tens of millions of Americans living with the condition, it can come as a shock when you find out that you are now one of them. Worry about how diabetes will affect your lifestyle and whether it will lead to further health complications can be overwhelming. But living with type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean living a less full life, nor does it mean that you are necessarily at risk for the many potential health problems associated with the condition.
With thoughtfulness, vigilance, and common-sense steps like eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly (and, maybe, medication or insulin), you can keep type 2 diabetes in check.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Also called adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high blood sugar levels caused by the body’s inability to produce and use insulin properly and efficiently. It typically develops after the age of 35, though an increasing number of younger adults are being diagnosed with the condition.
Type 2 diabetes develops when the body does not turn carbohydrates from food into energy as it is supposed to. When functioning properly, the pancreas releases insulin when blood sugar levels rise. That insulin is what opens the door for blood sugar to get into the body’s cells, where it can provide needed energy. The lack of sufficient insulin can back up all of that glucose in the bloodstream, where it can cause significant problems.
What Is The Difference Between Type 2 and Type 1 Diabetes?
People with type 2 can produce some of their own insulin, but it is often in insufficient quantities to do the job. Those with type 1 diabetes have a different problem with insulin – they can’t produce it at all.
In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing islet cells in the pancreas. Without islet cells, the body cannot produce its own insulin. As a result, the sugars stay in the bloodstream, essentially starving the cells of the energy they need to maintain the body’s essential functions. That is why so many complications of type 1 diabetes involve problems with the heart, kidneys, and other organs.
What Are The Biggest Risk Factors For Developing Type 2 Diabetes?
Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, along with genetics and age, increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Approximately 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. That extra weight makes it even harder for a struggling body to use the already insufficient amount of insulin it is producing.
Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Prevented?
The way you live and eat can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Losing five to ten percent of your weight along with regular exercise and a healthy diet can prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes in at-risk individuals.
What Are The Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes develops over time, which means you may not experience symptoms for a while. The most common signs that you may have type 2 diabetes include:
- Frequent urination,
- Fatigue and tiredness
Is There A Cure For Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition for which there is no cure at present. That said, the condition can be managed effectively such that those living with type 2 diabetes can live full, healthy, active lives. All it takes are some lifestyle adjustments, vigilant and continuous monitoring of blood glucose levels, and, if needed, supplemental insulin.
What Is The Best Way For People With Type 2 Diabetes To Monitor Their Blood Glucose Levels?
Monitoring and maintaining blood sugar level levels are critical to living with type 2 diabetes and avoiding some of its more severe complications.
Traditionally, such monitoring involved the inconvenient and uncomfortable burden of pricking a finger multiple times a day to get and test blood samples. Now, an alternative to finger-prick glucose monitoring is available and may be suitable for some individuals with type 2 diabetes. Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is a tested, approved, accurate, and easy-to-use transceiver device that helps those with diabetes monitor keep abreast of their blood sugar levels 24/7 without any need to stop what their doing to take a blood sample.
You will need a doctor’s prescription to qualify to receive a CGM for your diabetes management. For those with type 2 diabetes, in particular, CGM may not be a recommended or viable alternative to traditional glucose monitoring.